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North Mississippi Allstars announce new album Up and Rolling, release “What You Gonna Do?” with Mavis Staples

North Mississippi Allstars | photo Wyatt McSpadden | courtesy of the artist

North Mississippi Allstars have just announced their tenth studio album, Up and Rolling, which will be released October 4th. That’s a ways off, sure, but in the meantime the blues-rock trio have given us the first single from the record, “What You Gonna Do?” featuring legendary American gospel singer Mavis Staples. Continue reading →

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Mavis Staples shares new album via NPR Music’s First Listen

Mavis Staples | photo by Myriam Santos | courtesy of the artist

Despite turning 80 this summer, Mavis Staples is showing no signs of slowing down. A week before its official release, the legendary singer, has shared her new album We Get By via NPR Music’s First Listen. Written with Ben Harper, the album is an intense and moving body of work. In line with her recent output, the music feels of the present, but in touch with the past. It is a rich listen, marked by Staples’ luxurious sounding voice. Continue reading →

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Mavis Staples teams up with Ben Harper for new album We Get By

Mavis Staples | photo by Myriam Santos | courtesy of the artist

Mavis Staples has announced that her new album We Get By will be released May 10. Produced by Ben Harper, it will be the legendary songwriter’s 12th studio album. The lead single “Change” is out now, setting the tone for an album that will be filled with Staples’ messages of love and hope for a divided world. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Strand of Oaks, Ivy Sole, Mavis Staples, Swearin’ and more

Ivy Sole at SXSW | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

From alt rock heros to rising stars in hip-hop, a Philly favorite taking over three nights at Boot and Saddle in South Philly, while a soul queen posts up for two nights at World Cafe Live in University City. And the time of year being what it is, there are not one, not two, but three holiday shows on the calendar this week. Here are 16 concerts to see in the next seven days all around Philadelphia.  Continue reading →

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Just Announced: The one and only Mavis Staples will grace World Cafe Live for two nights this December

Mavis Staples | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

Six decades later, and legendary R&B singer Mavis Staples has shown no signs of slowing down. She’s 78 years old now and just self-released an album titled If All I Was Was Black in November. Not to mention, she is going on tour this fall, again, hitting various cities including Philadelphia on December 7th and 8th. The soulful veteran will be bringing her soaring melodies and signature growl to World Cafe Live not once but twice! Continue reading →

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In Wilco News: A.M. and Being There get vinyl reissues, Jeff Tweedy collabs with Mavis Staples

Wilco | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

On December 1st, Wilco’s first two albums will get a vinyl and CD reissue.

Available through Rhino Records, 1995’s A.M. and 1996’s Being There will feature several new bonus and never-heard-before tracks, as well as alternate takes and live performances. A.M. will be reissued on CD and a double-LP, and Being There will be a 5 CD collection and 4 LP set. Fans are also invited to purchase the album directly from wilcoworld.net , where they will have access to an exclusive colored vinyl limited to 2,500 copies of each album. Digital formats of both albums will also be released on the same day. You can hear “Casino Queen,” “Passenger Side,” “Outta Site (Outta Mind),” and “When You Find Trouble,” some of the earliest, and favorite, Wilco recordings in their original form. Continue reading →

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Now Hear This: New Songs from Cold Specks, Moses Sumney, Cults, Susanne Sundfør, Laura Baird, Eamon and Mavis Staples

Moses Sumney | photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN
Moses Sumney | photo by Breanna Keohane for WXPN

Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.

October is the coolest month – musically speaking.  There are more (and, pound for pound, bigger) new releases flying around these days than any other time of year.  It’s dizzying.  And correspondingly, of course, there are also many many artists touring through town, now and in the coming weeks.  It’s left me with little choice but to offer an, umm, especially generous baker’s dozen by way of my monthly recap below.  So come feast your ears! 

Among other things, last month saw a considerable number of comebacks, of varying magnitudes – returns to action, artistic reinvigorations, etc – from artists all across the spectrum.  I’ve highlighted a good number of them below, along with a smaller, select handful of shining newcomer – most of whom turn out to be not entirely that new, after all.

The biggest (unintentional) theme for this month, a through-line linking all of these widely ranging selections, is the power of the voice.  The playlist below features a striking array of voices – extraordinary voices and commonplace voices, singly or in multiple, highly processed or unadorned.  And whether or not I call attention to to it in my write-up, each and every cut here offers something memorable in terms of its vocal dimension; a certain quality of the voice (or voices) at hand, or of the way that voice are used.  Let it be a reminder for us all, to keep on using our voices. Continue reading →